Gene & Jude’s | Chicago Red Hots (Hot Dogs) At Their Best

Review by: Michael Stern

Street Food Accommodations

Gene & Jude’s, just a few minutes the other side of O’Hare Airport, is hugely popular, but it is relatively small and extremely modest. There are no tables or chairs at all; as is Chicago custom, the eatery offers a chest-high counter to which you may bring your red hots, unwrap them, and eat standing up. When you’re finished, use the wax paper in which the hot dogs were served to gather up any scraps and heave them in one of the large garbage cans provided in the corners of the room. We find this arrangement comfortable and eminently practical for eating extremely messy food. However, many customers choose to dine in their cars in the parking lot.

A True Chicago Red Hot

You get a hot dog or a double dog. Or, as most Chicagoans know them, red hots. The natural-casing, all-beef Vienna brand franks are slim and snappy. Servers insert them into soft buns. They dress them with mustard, onions, piccalilli, or sport peppers as you request. Some hot dog historians consider this the “original” Chicago style dog, pre-dating the more baroque garnishes of pickle spear, tomato slices, and celery salt. In fact, Gene & Jude’s dates back to 1946.

The Crowning Touch: French Fries

This is without a doubt a definitive signature street food of Chicago. These red hots are great dogs by any measure. But wait, there’s more! Regardless of whatever toppings you desire, you also get  a great fistful of French fries. No afterthought, these fries rank among Chicago’s finest. Fresh? Forget about it! As you wait for your hot dog to be prepared, you can watch the counter folks peel and cut whole potatoes, then fry them, drain them, and pile them onto waiting dogs. Fries spend a good long time in the bubbling oil, emerging dark brown with some pieces crunchy through-and-through, others thick and potato-creamy inside.

Gene & Jude’s motto: “No Seats. No Ketchup. No Pretense. No Nonsense.”

What To Eat

Hot Dog

French Fries


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What do you think of Gene & Jude’s | Chicago Red Hots (Hot Dogs) At Their Best?

One Response to “Gene & Jude’s | Chicago Red Hots (Hot Dogs) At Their Best”

Robert Myers

April 15th, 2007

Gene and Jude’s is a great stop either to or from O’Hare, on your way back from Six Flags, or just to take a friend for the best hot dog in Chicago. Nice and simple. They offer only hot dogs and tamales, fresh-cut fries and Pepsi products.

No catsup served here; go next door to McDonald’s if you want that. Mustard, onions and sport peppers! Real steamed Vienna skinned hot dogs ready to snap at your first and last bite. Double dogs are the way to go. Fries right on the dog; what a way to die happy. My kids will only eat them that way too!

I take friends from here in Bolingbrook just to get some dogs, and my cousin from Oklahoma City could not stop talking about them. He said “the best wienie” he has ever had; called his friends to tell them.

Open early, open late, fast friendly service. Have your order ready and your money too, they do not screw around!


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